When I think about the songs that have meant the most to me in my life, Swept Away tops the list. I make no claims about it being a brilliant song, or even my favorite Avett Brothers song, but it will always hold a special place in my heart.
Swept Away was one of the first Avett Brothers songs that I really fell in love with – it had no personal meaning for me at the time, it was just a very sweet and honest love song. The kind of song that’s very hard to not be touched by. But it took on new meaning after Jared and I started dating. We had been very close friends for about a year and a half, so we thankfully got to bypass all the getting to you know you awkwardness of new relationships. He’d seen me at my worst and vice versa. It didn’t take long for either of us to realize that what we shared was very different from what we’d experienced in past relationships (i.e. drama, frustration, self-doubt… the general BS that comes along with staying with the wrong person for way too long.) We never had to question how we felt about each other… the love we came to share was something I could trust in completely. It’s why when people ask me how I knew Jared was “the one,” I always reply: I just knew.
About 6 months after we began dating, a lot of things started changing for us… Jared got a job in Portland and had to move there without me until I could find a new job and join him. Neither of us wanted to leave Seattle (we didn’t know at the time how much we’d end up loving Portland) and we didn’t know how long we’d have to live in different cities. Around that time, Jared and I were riding in the car together and Swept Away came on. This wasn't anything out of the ordinary since The Avett Brothers dominate our iPods, but this particular song hit us differently that day… we both kinda looked at each other, and from that point on, it was our song. Maybe because it put into words what we were unable to:
“Well life is ever changing but I will always find a constant and comfort in your love…”
Swept Away would come to be a big part of some of the most important days of my life. It was playing when I walked down the stairs of our house to find rose petals, the biggest vase of roses I'd ever seen, and then Jared down on one knee asking me to marry him. And it was playing 9 months later when Jared and I had our first dance at our wedding.
This past Monday, The Avett Brothers were in town to play a last minute benefit show (for the Terra Nova Community Farm) at the Crystal Ballroom. The Avetts' Ballroom shows are pretty legendary (to this day, their 2nd night at the Ballroom last year is without question the best show I've ever seen), and on top of that Langhorne Slim and Black Prairie were opening and they only planned to release 500 tickets. Not surprisingly, the announcement lured in hardcore fans from across the country.
The morning of the show they recorded a short live performance at Kink.fm that we were fortunate enough to win tickets to. We got a chance to meet them after the performance and while I was a speechless goof, my wonderful husband managed to mention to them that Swept Away was our wedding song, which prompted me out of my stupor long enough to ask them to play it that night. (It would be our 10th Avett Brothers show, and we had yet to see them play it live.)
Later that night, they started in on the 18th song of what was an already unbelievable, fan wishlist filled set, and I couldn't believe my ears. They were actually playing it. There we were, standing in the front row, finally getting to see them play this song that meant so much to us. For the entire length of the song I stood there filled with gratitude, disbelief, and love... love for Jared, love for this song, this band, this night. And when we thanked them after the show Seth said "Aw, we were hoping you guys were here to hear it. We played it for you." Even typing that just now I still can't believe it all went down the way it did.
It's hard to put into words how special this show was... the crowd was filled with diehard fans, and they knew it. They played every song as though it was a thank you to the fans... fans that loved them long before they were on a major label and getting radio play, when they were just 3 guys and sometimes a cellist, playing without a setlist, breaking strings and screaming out country tunes. If I had to pick any show from the last 3 years to see them play Swept Away at, this would have been it. It was a perfect night, and I’m so grateful to have been there.
Click here to watch The Avett Brothers performing Swept Away at the Crystal Ballroom on 8.30.10.